WALLA WALLA — Running bond elections, or any election for that matter, is not cheap.
Walla Walla County Auditor Karen Martin estimated the bond election to build a new science building at Walla Walla High School, which the district approved on Thursday, will cost the district $20,000 to $25,000.
The bond will be the only proposal on the April 22 ballot for Walla Walla County.
Assessing exactly how much the election will cost the district is difficult because the county breaks down its elections bills in two categories: direct costs and indirect costs.
Direct costs cover things like postage, extra labor brought on as a result of the election and the costs of the ballots and envelopes. The district pays those expenses.
Indirect costs are things like machine maintenance, facilities costs and wages for the county’s permanent elections staff. The county divides those costs with very entity that puts forward an election measure.
In 2013, the Walla Walla School District paid $10,237 for the Wa-Hi construction and renovation bond that failed; $10,218 for a primary election for a single school board position; and $14,128 for the fall general election in indirect costs.
Both the primary and general election proved to be moot, however, because both candidates running against now-board member Sam Wells dropped out of the race but too late to remove their names from the ballot.
The 2013 bond election cost about $21,750 in direct costs.
Martin said Thursday’s decision to pursue an April bond came as a surprise.
“We were hearing the school district was not going to run it,” Martin said, “so we weren’t in a big hurry. But we are now.”